The trial of Theranos, and more specifically for Elisabeth Holmes, has already begun. A few days ago the final date was announced to seat the founder of the blood analysis machine company on the bench. One that he would share with his partner Sunny Balwani, but which ended up being an individual. Part of Holmes’s defense lies in his role as victim Regarding the world and the businessman twice his age, who used the young Stanfor student as a mechanism to defraud investors, patients and the world in general with his supposed blood test machines.
Be that as it may, in courtroom number 4 in California the first steps of a trial that can last for months were taken. It was the turn of the presentations by the federal prosecutor and the defense attorney. Both laid the foundations on which it will be debated in the coming weeks.
For Robert Leach, federal prosecutor who is taking the case against Holmes, the situation is crystal clear: “This is a case of fraud, of lying and cheating to get money,” The Washington Post wrote in Leach’s words. Regardless of the motivation that led Holmes to make the decisions that led Theranos to where it is today, the prosecutor argued that “out of time and out of money, Elizabeth Holmes decided to lie.”
How? For Leach the process is clear. Undoubtedly of the founder’s good intentions in Theranos’ first steps, the company soon ran out of funds to investigate further. They had some agreements with small pharmaceutical companies, and Pfizer had terminated their investment due to lack of results. The decision of Holmes and Balwani – whom he puts in the same bag as the accused – was to reach agreements with Walgreens and Safeway, two large companies in the country. It was achieved with false reports and in your favor from Pfizer.
At this point, the rest is history. Both companies implemented the Theranos system without knowing that the company itself commanded the blood tests to conventional laboratories or third party machines. This also did not meet the investors, who did not obtain the expected results of the company in which they had left more than 4,000 million dollars.
With this, argued the prosecutor, Holmes managed to become the virtual heir to Steve Jobs. The promising young man from Silicon Valley who was going to change the world with a blood test machine.
Is Theranos just one of many Silicon Valley flops?
Across the room, Holmes’s defense opted for an entirely different speech. With the position that Balwani was the mastermind of the situation and Holmes a victim in his hands, the idea started from the very concept of failure.
“Failure is not a crime. Doing everything possible and falling short is not a crime,” argued Lance Wade and according to The Verge. That is, the defense of Theranos and Holmes points to the essence of the venture itself: “do everything you can until you get it, even if the world thinks you’ve already done itFurther arguing that even though the company’s shares were worth millions at an all time high, she never benefited from them.
Is it a crime or the essence of the entrepreneur? Ultimately, the company was simply starting a path to somewhere through science, without seeing an illegality in it. If there is, mainly in the laboratory section, the defense attorney argues that it was precisely the division in charge of Balwani. If he did not inform the founder correctly, this would not be the cause of the failures. In fact, Wade points to the fact that relying on Balwani as her top advisor was one of the founder’s biggest mistakes.
As for investors, Wade is clear about his role in the story. Investing in Theranos was a risk gamble that could go wrong or right. It turned out very badly, but that’s not the fault of the company itself.